I was at my most independent while I lived in Alaska.It was isolating at times, and I definitely listened to Grant Lee Buffalo’s “Happiness” on repeat in my driveway one night while crying into a large pizza for one, but when everyone you know lives 3,000 miles away, you can really amp up the dormant part of your hedonistic tendencies.I got to Alaska the way most people do: Through personal trauma and a series of questionable decisions.It’s where I ran after September 11; I was 24 years old, working for the United Nations, and exhausted by the fact that I had to pass through an endless series of security checkpoints every time I needed to pee.At first, I couldn’t process the amount of attention I was getting in Alaska.
I went on a hike with Scott, who asked me out because he liked the book I was reading one night while I had dinner alone in a restaurant.
I got asked out a lot — at the grocery store, at the library, hiking the Matanuska Glacier, gliding down the bike trail.
Some of the guys who approached me were goblins; I regularly turned down the five-fingered grandpa — that’s five fingers total — who constantly asked me for a blow job whenever I drank at a particular downtown bar, and I practically ran away from a man who had the stringy baldness of a young Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show when he sidled up and asked me if I had any communicable diseases as his opening line.
I think I was successful because there was nothing at stake.
I had moved to Alaska to try something completely new, and to set my own limits.